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Report: Bristol Flyers 74-64 Manchester Giants

Bristol Flyers put in a hard-nosed defensive performance to seize a crucial victory in their push for the BBL play-offs.

Coach K’s men led by just one point mid-way through the second period when they came up with a 6-0 run to help extend the lead to 10, a comfortable lead which they’d keep for the remainder of the game.

Fred Thomas led Flyers with 21 points and a vital three blocks and two steals, whilst Daniel Edozie had a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.



Vlatko Granic opened the scoring with a three and then followed up with a driving lay-up. Giants profited from the two-man game between centre Willie Clayton and point guard Mike McCall early on. Their pick and roll execution led to multiple scores for Clayton in the opening period.

Justin Gray kept the offence flowing for Flyers, finding Jalan McCloud for a two-pointer and then Falzon for a go-ahead three. Fred Thomas was next to connect from deep, followed by Mike Vigor, who splashed a three from the wing and Thomas hit once again from distance. 

Flyers began to find defensive stops. Thomas dished to Marcus Delpeche for a forceful one handed dunk. Next time down Vigor got into the paint for a lay-up to close out the quarter 25-24.

A McCloud steal released Thomas for a soaring two-handed throwdown in transition, setting the tone for an offensive explosion for the Flyers. Edozie and Delpeche both found themselves in foul trouble early in the game, but Clayton struggled to convert from the free throw line all night. A 6-0 run from Flyers gave them their first real lead of the game.

Flyers kept up the onslaught, with McCloud drawing a shooting foul and making both free throws count. Lewis Champion brought energy from the bench, blocking a Callum Jones lay-up attempt and then hitting a three-pointer to keep the lead growing. Falzon was able to extend the lead at the foul line and the score was 46-36 at half-time.

A low-scoring third period saw Flyers maintain their lead. Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the quarter. Callum Jones was able to get a breakaway lay-up, but Gray responded with a fast-paced drive across the lane for a tough finish. The teams traded points at the free throw line as the period progressed. Vigor found Gray with a well-timed pass on a back door cut for a lay-up to end the quarter 55-45.

Flyers started the fourth strong, with McCloud driving through the defence to score. Vigor found Thomas with an open lane next time down and Thomas took flight for a one handed jam. Giants cut the lead back to single figures, but Gray was able to draw a foul on a three point attempt and restore the double digit buffer.

Edozie elevated above the rim to swat away a Clayton lay-up and Coach Byrne picked up a technical foul in the aftermath of the play. McCloud calmly converted the resulting free throw then found Edozie inside for a lay-up. 

The momentum shifted back in Giants’ favour as Flyers struggled to score for several possessions. A Coach Kapoulas timeout was not enough to reignite the offence and the lead began to dwindle as Giants made successive scores. A dagger three-pointer from McCall saw the lead cut to five points.

Another three-point shot from McCall rimmed out and McCloud managed the clock well before driving and dishing to Edozie for a lay-up. Edozie was fouled on the play and made his free throw to restore a comfortable lead with under two minutes remaining. 

With the clock against them, Giants were forced to foul to regain possession and Gray made his foul shots count. A huge block from Thomas gave Flyers another possession and a chance to extend the lead further at the line. Thomas’ free throws secured the 74-64 victory.